Emma from MeManagement

Emma Neil’s journey to conquer depression led her to launch MeManagement, a lifestyle stationery range designed to inspire people to take action, make change and live a happier life.

We put out a call to the community for cool people doing cool things to come forth and share their stories. Emma Neil was quick to put her hand up and I’m so glad she did. I swear, it’s not because she gave me a box full of stationery awesomeness! I was eager to catch up with Emma to find out more about her products and the story behind the MeManagement concept. We met at the super cool Motorcycle Club in Wickham on a rainy Monday morning. She shared her story, we drank some tea and my whole perspective on life changed for the better.

Emma admitted she’d been nervous to meet with me. After a long pause and a deep breath she told me she was diagnosed with depression six years ago; that she had found herself in a hole and just couldn’t get out. As a practical person, Emma created tools to get her life back on track. “I really approached my depression from an analytical point of view. It’s the most basic formula; if you don’t do anything, nothing will change, so I wrote down all the things that made me feel better and made them happen.”

During that low point, Emma never thought of her tools as a business concept. Eventually, it was her husband, Ben, who suggested she use the tools she created for herself, to inspire others. “I initially thought, No, no one would use these, but it sat with me about a week, and then I started scribbling notes, playing around with products and sound-boarding ideas.”

"Depression and anxiety is so prevalent but the great thing is we’re all talking about it now. No one ever suspected that I would have depression, so it was hard to share my story. I knew early on that if I was going to market these products, I had to be transparent about what my motivation really was."

As Emma shared her experience with others, she was taken aback by the number of people who were going through the same thing. MeManagement started out as a way to inspire others to make positive change, but it’s now morphed into a tool to maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle. Emma put it perfectly: it’s not just about feeling better, but doing things to make sure we maintain that better.

I can totally relate. These days, we are all so crazy busy. Busy being a mum, a partner, working a fulltime job, managing a social life, trying to get more, be more or keep our head above water. Do we ever take time out to do the things that make us happy?

Emma used to struggle finding things that made her happy. It sounds silly to her now but she explains that when you’re sitting in a place that’s not so fantastic, it’s difficult to find the motivation to get out of bed. “It’s really hard to say I am actively going to do something that makes me feel better.” That’s how Emma came up with The Happy Hit List (the first product in my pack of goodies). It’s simple really; make a list of all the things that make you happy, stick it on the fridge and if you feel yourself getting a little low, do the first thing on the list, or book number 2!

For Emma, it’s simple things like yoga, playing in the park with her son Xavier, family time at the beach and reading that are scheduled in as MyTime – half an hour to an hour each day to find a better mindset. “MyTime just slows you down and takes the pressure off all the that to do and this to do and that person to see.” The weekly planner has allocated space each day for appointments, tasks, exercise, food and MyTime, with magnets on the back. “This range is not just for the person needing to make positive change, but also for the people who are trying to help. In any caring role, communication is key and this way, all members of the family can see when the pressures of life have taken over and a movie night is needed!”

Emma explains she’s an internal rager and by writing her feelings down it was her way of letting it all out. Enter the VENT IT notepad. Go to town, don’t sugar-coat it, then tear it up, scrunch it into a ball and throw it away. I like it. I can already imagine myself in a place of calm surrounded by little paper balls of scrunched up emotion.

The JOURNAL and BUCKET LIST are the next things I pull out and Emma’s eyes practically twinkle with excitement. She is a big fan of journaling and explains that there’s just something about transposing your thoughts onto paper that gives you clarity. “Dreaming and goal-setting is a must for anyone to feel great. Don’t wait, don’t get too busy. These are the things that make life super awesome.” Lightbulb moment for me! She’s right! We’re always too busy that we forget or put off our dreams. We need to focus on the here and now and start living life to its absolute full potential! “The gifting aspect of MeManagement took me by surprise, but I’ve learnt that people who aren’t feeling fabulous are the worst people to take action, it’s the people who are looking to help them that do. This is a really easy gift to say ‘Hey, I care and maybe this will help’.”

For Emma, there’s nothing sweeter than receiving feedback from her customers and hearing their success stories. Inspired by their experiences, Emma began working on The Soul Notes - an interview series of inspiring journeys to happiness. These stories are about people who made a conscious change to live a better life.

As she finished off the last sip of her tea, Emma said something that truly encompassed the message of MeManagement. “If you want a lifestyle you love, you need to do something to get there. Take action to make change. You don’t have to jump out of a plane or quit your day job, just do SOMETHING.”

How would people describe you?

Organised (SURPRISE!), a little loud, and good for a hug.

Talk us through a typical day in the life of Emma Neil…

Xavier and I get our yoga on together. Yes, he has his own mat. [Ed’s note: I can’t handle the cuteness!] We’ll have breaky with Ben and then we’ll hit the office for some MeManagement time. I’ve set up a daybed and a second desk in the office so Xavier will either have sleep, do some “work” at his desk or watch some videos.  When we need a break we’ll hit the park or the beach. We love the beach and the ocean, it just seems to set everything back into place. I normally write at night when I have uninterrupted mental space.

Emma and her son, Xavier

Emma and her son, Xavier

What future plans are in the pipeline?

I’m currently in the process of having digital downloadable products made. I’m obsessed with stationery in its physical form but I want to cater for both the traditional and new age market. I’m also toying with the idea of face-to-face training and personal development. Think confidence building, goal-setting and organisational skills.

Who’s the coolest person you know?

This is corny as hell but I’d have to say my husband. Not only is he ridiculously good looking (I’m not at all biased!), but he’s the picture of calm, he has the best business head and he’s an amazing dad. He supported me through my toughest time. Without a doubt, I couldn’t have done it without him.

"I’m a massive advocate for making dreams happen. The MeManagement range reminds you to stop your 9 to 5, and start dreaming. Start dreaming like a seven-year-old again."

Knowing what you know now, what’s the best advice you could give?

It’s important to stop to be a mum, stop to be a wife, just slow down. If you own your own business, try to allocate time away from it. When everything starts to blur, walk away and come back in with fresh eyes. That’s where MyTime comes in. It’s okay not to be perfect. The wheels fall off for me all the time but sometimes, when the wheels fall off, that’s when you find the gold.

What’s most rewarding about what you do?

This is my opportunity to help or inspire people to take action. I’ll never forget a testimonial I received from a lady who had purchased a MeManagement pack. It brought me to tears and in that moment, all the late nights and the sacrifices I had made, they were all worth it. In that moment I had made a difference and helped someone change their life.

What have you learned about yourself since starting MeManagement?

I’m stronger than what I thought, and you know what, most people are; they just need to trust themselves a little more.

by Sophie McIntosh